Talk to any CrossFitter and they will gladly rattle off two or three (or a dozen) ways in which CrossFit has changed their life for the better. For example, they are stronger, faster, healthier and happier. For me, the single most important benefit I have seen occur in myself and in my fellow CrossFit athletes is the subtle, yet profound, paradigm shift that happens after repeatedly and consistently doing things that seem impossible.
Every day, CrossFitters walk into their gyms and see the workout posted on the whiteboard. For many, there is a little bit of nagging dread somewhere in the back of their brain. That dread comes from the fact that for 99.9 percent of the human population (I just made up that percentage, but I am convinced it is accurate), the workout staring them down from that whiteboard would seem impossible. Somewhere in the back of that athlete’s brain there is a little voice that says there is no way that any human being can run through the gauntlet described on that board and come out the other side. Yet in less than sixty minutes, he or she will leave the gym having just done the “impossible.”
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Three times a week. Five times a week. For six months, a year, two years, more. Eventually that nagging little voice of dread has been overcome so many times it becomes, for all intents and purposes, silent. Over time it becomes apparent that somehow, not only are the most brutal WODs completely doable, but things outside the gym that used to seem daunting are now no big deal. Gradually, nothing seems impossible! It all starts the first time you look at that whiteboard, see something that really scares the hell out of you, and you do it anyway.
The Reebok CrossFit Games Open are 17 days away. The Games begin with the Open – five weeks of workouts that will be performed by CrossFitters all around the world. For the novice CrossFitter, the workouts that are going to be prescribed during these five weeks will probably seem impossible. That little voice of dread will probably be coming through loud and clear: “this is going to be too hard,” “the weights are going to be too heavy,” “I’m not going to qualify for Regionals anyway.” But for those that manage to quell that voice and sign up for the Open in spite of their doubts, they will likely see and experience something pretty amazing.
At CrossFit boxes all over the world, beginning in just a few short weeks, people will be lifting weights for reps that they had never done even one time. Athletes will be getting their first muscle up or first handstand pushup. They will be doing the impossible. Novices and fire breathers alike, side by side, will be exceeding their own expectations and pushing each other past that voice of doubt and coming out the other side. There will be a synergy there between beginner and Games contender doing the same workout, side-by-side, each one finding inspiration in the other. Witnessing this is exciting. Experiencing it is empowering.
Each year we encourage our athletes to sign up for the Open, both beginners and experienced CrossFitters and everything in between. Not because we expect all of them to qualify, but because we know that five weeks after the Open begins, they will come out the other side… different. We know that five weeks from the start of the Open that nagging voice of doubt will be a little bit quieter, and all the difficult things the world dishes up will look a little bit less impossible.